The Last of Us (HBO)

The final scene is exactly how it ends in the game. The quick cut after Ellie says 'ok' is entirely intentional. It leaves the viewer to contemplate what the lie and Ellie's reaction to the lie means for Joel and Ellie's relationship in the future, which is after all the beating heart of the series.

It's a little reminiscent of the infamous ending to The Sopranos although not quite as abrupt. Sometimes it's more powerful to give the viewer just enough information and then let them infer what they want from it.

Admittedly, I think it's impact is diminished a little when viewers already know a season 2 is in the works. Players didn't know for years there would be a sequel to the first game and thought that ending might be all we ever got and I do think it works a little better in that context. But still, I think it's an excellent and brave ending.
 
Maybe it's just because I've already played the game so many times, but this just didn't have the same impact for me. I think they really needed to flesh this out more, and make the episode longer. This could've been a whole lot more epic.

Bella was amazing as always, and Ashley Johnson and Merle Dandridge gave me goosebumps.
 
I love that this is sparking debate and conversation about Joel's decision. I feel similarly to @johnoclock in that I would not have gone the same route and am always going to distrust someone who acts so selfishly. I also dislike children, so the life of one is never going to mean that much to me. Sure, the surgery was always going to be a risk, but sometimes risks are needed for a potential greater outcome. I understand where Joel was coming from, and his desire to hold on tight to one of the last few great things in his life. But saying his action stem from him being only human makes it sounds like we're all innately selfish, which is a scary prospect. That said, both the Fireflies and Joel acted without allowing Ellie to have any sort of agency, and I think they're both wrong for that. I'm assuming Ellie had no clue she was even undergoing the surgery, and she certainly wasn't aware of Joel's actions. But when it comes down to it, we would all behave differently in this sort of situation, and regardless of what one thinks is right or wrong, I love that it gives us really interesting questions to discuss.

My only confusion is - and someone else asked the same question - how did Marlene get to Salt Lake City so quickly? And why even have Joel carry out this journey if you were just going to get there - and get there sooner - yourself? I just feel like I missed something here.
 
The way I look at it is - if I was Joel and Ellie was my little brother, I don’t think I could agree to end his life on the hope it would save everyone else’s. It’s not really about whether Ellie is a child or not, it’s someone he’s grown attached to. When it’s as bleak as it is, that’s all you can grab hold of. Would be really difficult to let it go, regardless of what the potential was. But it’s Ellie’s decision to make and ultimately I don’t think she would’ve been too mad about what Marlene had done.
 
Yeah that's a good question, why did she make Joel take Ellie to the Fireflies if she was going there herself? I guess one could say she thought he was more capable since she mentions her own group almost completely died getting there but why not go together at least? Surely there's safety in numbers?
 
It's not about Ellie being a child though. She's his "daughter" at this point, and that connection is beyond age. She's also literally the only person he cares about who hasn't been stripped away from him or abandoned him without a word to start a nice cozy life in a commune *ahem*. Joel is a broken man with no faith left for the world so why would he let the only thing important to him die? The only way Joel knows how to protect is through destruction. And now he has to live with the guilt of lying to Ellie and fucking the world which has obviously (irreversibly?) fractured their relationship anyway. Which is so sad after the way they've grown the last few episodes.

I don't agree with his actions but I don’t blame him. And honestly a few decades deep into the apocalypse I'd be suspicious of anyone's motives, especially a group claiming they can deliver humanity. How do they plan to test the vaccine? How do they plan on distributing the vaccine? Will there be enough, or are child vaccine factories the answer to scaling up? And so on.
 
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Nn my sense of morality is clearly skewed because I don't blame Joel at all for choosing to do what he did. No way in hell I'd let someone kill the only person I cared about in a world of cannibals and fascists and zombie mushroom people.
I don’t think it really has anything to do with morality. I think it’s just a realization that people would handle these things differently.

It’s making me realize what little emotional investment I have in other people that I can’t think of anyone I would feel that passionately about holding onto.
 
I don’t think it really has anything to do with morality. I think it’s just a realization that people would handle these things differently.

It’s making me realize what little emotional investment I have in other people that I can’t think of anyone I would feel that passionately about holding onto.
When he first meets Ellie he would’ve agreed with you and handed her over no problem. But I think that’s the message of the game/show, really - there’s people worth saving and surviving for.
 
To answer the question of why didn’t Marlene take Ellie, well the initial plan was to just get Ellie to the other side of the city where Fireflies were supposed to be waiting to take her and escort her from there, but they weren’t there and then the ambush of the infected happened, Tess made Joel promise to get Ellie to the Fireflies.
FEDRA and Fireflies were at war, so it was more of a risk for Fireflies to take Ellie to this meeting point, Marlene apparently escaped and went straight to Salt Lake City, Joel and Ellie weren’t sure where to go at first and got side tracked several times on their journey.
Marlene said in the last episode she lost a lot of men on the way, so it doesn’t sound like she had an easy journey either.
 
Of all the things that happened in that finale, what made me the most uncomfortable was Joel's change in personality. He seemed a little unhinged and has become totally dependant on Ellie... the desperation was killing me. And when he was comparing Ellie to Sarah. Yikes. That's a lot for Ellie to handle going forward.

I guess all this explains why he did what he did.
 
Of all the things that happened in that finale, what made me the most uncomfortable was Joel's change in personality. He seemed a little unhinged and has become totally dependant on Ellie... the desperation was killing me. And when he was comparing Ellie to Sarah. Yikes. That's a lot for Ellie to handle going forward.

I guess all this explains why he did what he did.
Interesting. I didn't think so but a podcast I listen to made the same point, that his turn from cold mercenary to desperate dad was a bit abrupt and they also mentioned that the show rushing through story was possibly a disservice in selling that arc. I guess the David episode was supposed to be the major turning point.
 
Twenty years of trauma and loss following an acutely traumatising, life extinguishing event on a massive scale, and in the lead up to the events of that final episode, Joel came perilously close to death repeatedly, temporarily lost his purpose / reason for being and the companionship / one consistent relationship he had. He also endured the resurfacing of PTSD / trauma from having witnessed the brutal death of his child, alongside the unconscious transference of love for his dead daughter onto a child he had thus far been doggedly working to defend against parental instinctive feelings for. All of this, and it was made clear that only now does it occur to him the medical procedure will be one which will certainly kill the child he has given his life to protect and become attached to - a final shock to the system that tipped him into dissociation. He tried to negotiate unsuccessfully so was again in a situation where walking away not being an option, its either he (and Ellie) dies, or they die.

Again, I don't condone, or excuse the actions (remembering this is fiction etc), but I don't think there's any reach required to understand why he behaved in the way that he did. And again, what I was seeing was the impact of PTSD and dissociation presented in a measured, considered, thoughtful way, when all too often shows such as this are all bombast, grotesque sensationalising and cynical cliffhangers, so I'm definitely (if we hadnt guessed already) in the camp who loved the artistic / creative decisions made in that final episode, but appreciate we all view these things differently.
 
Twenty years of trauma and loss following an acutely traumatising, life extinguishing event on a massive scale, and in the lead up to the events of that final episode, Joel came perilously close to death repeatedly, temporarily lost his purpose / reason for being and the companionship / one consistent relationship he had. He also endured the resurfacing of PTSD / trauma from having witnessed the brutal death of his child, alongside the unconscious transference of love for his dead daughter onto a child he had thus far been doggedly working to defend against parental instinctive feelings for. All of this, and it was made clear that only now does it occur to him the medical procedure will be one which will certainly kill the child he has given his life to protect and become attached to - a final shock to the system that tipped him into dissociation. He tried to negotiate unsuccessfully so was again in a situation where walking away not being an option, its either he (and Ellie) dies, or they die.

Again, I don't condone, or excuse the actions (remembering this is fiction etc), but I don't think there's any reach required to understand why he behaved in the way that he did. And again, what I was seeing was the impact of PTSD and dissociation presented in a measured, considered, thoughtful way, when all too often shows such as this are all bombast, grotesque sensationalising and cynical cliffhangers, so I'm definitely (if we hadnt guessed already) in the camp who loved the artistic / creative decisions made in that final episode, but appreciate we all view these things differently.
This post is giving

 
I'm super intrigued on how they go forward with Season 2, do they follow the game in having a time jump then fill in with flashback episodes or will they do something different and continue where this season left off for a bit.

It will be fascinating to see how the first half of the sequel gets received by those who haven't played the game.
 

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